May 04, 2011

Iranian Kurdistan: Calls on Tehran to Stop Arresting Teachers

A year after the execution of the Iranian Kurdish teacher, poet, journalist and human rights activist Farzad Kamangar Iran continues with arresting Kurdish teachers, resulting in an outcry for change from Kurdish activists

Below is an article published by Rudaw: 

Iranian Kurdish activists call on Iran to stop arresting Kurdish teachers in that country and they hope to name May 19th, the first anniversary of the execution of Farzad Kamangar, “Teachers Day”.

Farzad Kamangar, was a Kurdish teacher from the city of Kamyaran and a member in the Vocational Organization of Kurdistan Teachers. Last year [2010], he was detained by the Iranian authorities, charged with attempts against the country’s security and executed. 

On the first anniversary of Kamangar’s execution, Kurdish activists from Iranian Kurdistan are expected to hold a seminar and commemoration in Sulaimani city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, on May 19th [2011]. 

Zahid Hanbali, one of the organizers of the seminar, believes that Kamangar invented a new path for struggle. 

“Mamosta [the Kurdish word for teacher] and his fellows all of whom had the same message, changed the view of the Kurdish individual that if you want to struggle you should resort to the mountains, by showing that it is possible to struggle even inside the prison.” said Hanbali. 

Hanbali was impressed by Kamangar’s perseverance and dedication to his beliefs. 

“Kamangar sacrificed himself for the people and declared that the people’s interest is above all other interests,” said Hanbali. “He would always tell the prison officers: if you continue this way, you too will remain as prisoners inside this prison.” 

Syawaish Gudarzi, an activist from Iranian Kurdistan and resident of Sweden, has published the messages of Farzad Kamangar in three books titled the Letters of Farzad Kamangar From Prison, From Jail to Jail and the Disappearance of the Stars is the News of the Sunrise in both Sorani and Kirmanji dialects of Kurdish. He has also translated some of Kamangar’s messages into Swedish. 

In an interview with Rudaw, Gudarzi said, “I was affected by Kamangar’s ideas and imaginations, that’s why I tried to familiarize the Kurdish people and the foreigners with his imaginations.” 

Gudarzi knew Kamangar in person and he recalled one of his conversations with him. 

“In a telephone conversation Farzad asked me to follow up and care for those inside the prisons of the Islamic Republic, and this encouraged me a lot.” said Gudarzi. 

The Vocational Organization of Kurdistan Teachers of which Kamangar was a member, is an organization for the teachers in the Kodestan province (Sanandaj) in western Iran. The Iranian government does not recognize it formally and some of its members and managers have been arrested by the Itlaat, Iranian intelligence agency. 

Abdul Aziz Mauludi, a Kurdish civil activist and college teacher, says that in the schools and colleges of Iranian Kurdistan some kind of impediment is put before teachers and students that in turn leads to a bad education and negative studying environment. 

“In Iran in general and in Kurdistan in particular, the teacher – student relations and the relation between teachers are under control, and this control is conducted by centers that are affiliated with the intelligence department inside the universities and schools.” 

The organization has released a statement that reads, “The teachers, despite all the challenges, continuously try to educate the children of this country, but prison, rope, exile and sacking is their reward. They are not allowed to freely express their ideas.” 

The statement also calls for the release of some teachers who are currently in prison, among them Rasul Bodagi, Saed Hashim Khastar and Nabi Alla Bastan. 

The Teachers Organization said that since their statement, several of their members have been summoned by the Iranian intelligence for interrogations.